How to Win Summer: Beer Can Chickens Doing Yoga (Kind of. It's a Stretch.)

By: Debra Puchalla

While on photo shoots, I've bumped into a beer can chicken or two. But I've never actually cooked one at home. I am, therefore, somewhat of a grill-season fraud. Last summer "beer can chicken" (with and without hyphens for any of you copy gurus who are wondering) was Googled tens of thousands of times. But not at my house. Don't get me wrong: I have no problem with having a beer out back. But every time I see the resulting pictures of beer can chicken — chickens standing or sitting awkwardly and ridiculously on domestic cans or even imports — as if waiting for someone to hand them beers, toes pointing, flailing, kicking or squatting — I can't help but laugh at how odd they look, and I move on to chops, steak or salmon. Their accoutrements, spice rubs, glazes and flurries of herbs, help doll them up. Yet a beer can chicken's crossed legs, uncrossed legs, stretching arms and stoic stance don't make me hungry; they make me think, randomly, of yoga. See above for a visual reference, wherein a stately beer can chicken looks to be moving toward seated meditation, a pensive, quieting pose that conjures warm breezes and calm waters — and a generous spice rub.

Still, there's a smart reason such food images are shot the way they are. If the food stylist platters the meat or carves the bird, then the picture doesn't sell the "why" of the recipe: the beer. Placing the chicken on a can of beer allows air to circulate around the bird and hence gives it crisp skin all over, a major plus, and devotees of the Cult of Beer Can Chicken claim the results are juicy and more flavorful. You can insert a debate on beer brand here, folks. (And then go ahead and argue, as Mr. "Meathead" did two years ago on Huffington Post, about whether the method is good anyway.) In the meantime, I am not waiting for New Year's this year for resolutions: I resolve to win summer. And that starts with stretching into Sun Salutation, getting past chicken poses, crossing the road to get to a six-pack and grilling beer can chicken. After all, what could be bad about drinking a little beer and cooking out? Namastasty.

Check out my top 5 favorite beer can chicken poses, after the jump.

1. Butterfly Pose

Pat and Gina Neely’s cayenne-spiked spiced bird spreads its, ahem, wings, calling to mind a laid-back afternoon with pals, skipping any worries, as since it’s too darn hot to care. Your tastebuds will be all aflutter.

Photo by: Matt Armendariz ©2014, Television Food Network, G.P. All Rights Reserved

Matt Armendariz, 2014, Television Food Network, G.P. All Rights Reserved

2. The Side Plank

Come here, meat-loving yogis and Bobby Flay (you've seen Bobby Flay Fit, right?), and stretch out to the side, one leg parallel with the other, and enjoy every juicy bite of Bobby's Beer Can Chicken. Along with the beer he includes a generous dry spice rub, plus rosemary and garlic for extra flavor. You can go through all the poses with Bobby's beer can chicken step-by-step.

Photo by: Matt Armendariz ©2013, Television Food Network, G.P. All Rights Reserved

Matt Armendariz, 2013, Television Food Network, G.P. All Rights Reserved

3. Child's Pose

Over on Cooking Channel, this skip-the-suds bird boasts a kid-friendly root beer glaze. Cooked on a can like its beery brethren, it's sticky, sweet and crisp all at once.

4. Mountain Pose

Ready to enjoy summer? Kick up the BBQ with this beer can chicken complemented by a soda-spiked sauce on the side.

5. Dandayamana Bibhaktapada Paschimotthanasana

In this standing separate-leg stretching pose (OK, not really, but the language was too good not to use and so was the idea of blanketing a bird with bacon), Guy Fieri shows off his more-is-more bacon-topped Big Bud's Beer Can Chicken. It's the perfect way to wrap up a barbecue. And if you're still hungry, check out more of our best beer can birds.

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